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Voter ID Bill Would Disenfranchise Elderly, Advocate Says

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) - A group providing legal services to senior citizens is worried that a bill requiring most people to have a photo ID to vote will disenfranchise many elders.

The bill, passed by the Pennsylvania House, awaits action in the Senate, and Karen Buck (pictured), executive director of the SeniorLAW Center, is hoping these politicians heed her objections: that an estimated 18% of seniors no longer have government issued ID's, and some would have a devil of a time getting one.

"We do understand that people say you need photo ID for lots of things today and we certainly understand that argument, but traveling or going into a business or certain types of transactions cannot be equated with a fundamental right of citizenship such as the right to vote."

Karen Buck (Photo provided by SeniorLAW Center)

Buck says getting an ID may be complicated by poverty, mobility and access issues, "Folks don't readily have access to original birth certificates often when you're in your 70's, 80's or older, and in fact there was a whole class of African-American elders who were denied the right of official birth certification when born in certain areas of the United States."

Buck calls the ID idea an onerous restriction on a fundamental right.

Reported by John Ostapkovich, KYW Newsradio 1060

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